Direct reprogramming as a route to cardiac repair

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Ischemic heart disease is the leading cause of morbidity, mortality, and healthcare expenditure worldwide due to an inability of the heart to regenerate following injury. Thus, novel heart failure therapies aimed at promoting cardiomyocyte regeneration are desperately needed. In recent years, direct reprogramming of resident cardiac fibroblasts to induced cardiac-like myocytes (iCMs) has emerged as a promising therapeutic strategy to repurpose the fibrotic response of the injured heart toward a functional myocardium. Direct cardiac reprogramming was initially achieved through the overexpression of the transcription factors (TFs) Gata4, Mef2c, and Tbx5 (GMT). However, this combination of TFs and other subsequent cocktails demonstrated limited success in reprogramming adult human and mouse fibroblasts, constraining the clinical translation of this therapy. Over the past decade, significant effort has been dedicated to optimizing reprogramming cocktails comprised of cardiac TFs, epigenetic factors, microRNAs, or small molecules to yield efficient cardiac cell fate conversion. Yet, efficient reprogramming of adult human fibroblasts remains a significant challenge. Underlying mechanisms identified to accelerate this process have been centered on epigenetic remodeling at cardiac gene regulatory regions. Further studies to achieve a refined understanding and directed means of overcoming epigenetic barriers are merited to more rapidly translate these promising therapies to the clinic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-13
Number of pages11
JournalSeminars in Cell and Developmental Biology
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Cardiac regeneration
  • Cardiac reprogramming
  • Somatic cell reprogramming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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